Stay safe stay loving …

My evening walk took me past the fire station, half of which is occupied by guardians now. One of them was out on the street with his kit painting positive murals on the hoardings. “Stay safe, stay loving” … I’m wondering if the final one is going to be “Stay home” or “stay alert”.


Around the station every lamp and tree has had encouraging laminated signs tagged onto it. “Go the Emergency Services!” Billboards are trumpeting “Yay the NHS” instead of “Buy Bill’s Best Beans!” Despite this change of focus, walking down the stairs in my block involves navigating through pile after pile of parcels dropped off by the Amazon guy who always somehow manages to get right to your door – unlike the Hermes guy who sets fire to your package and throws it in the river.

With the child drawn rainbows in the front room and all the people clapping through the window once a week, we are getting very good at this remote enthusiasm business. Remote enthusiasm and remote shopping and remote intimacy.

“Imagine I’m running towards you now,” my friend says on the phone just now. I’m jumping up – catch me. I’m giving you a great big hug! Mmmmmm.” And somehow a tiny tiny portion of the endorphins that the real contact would release are released. But it’s like watching a video of a flower blooming. There’s nothing like the real thing.

I once had someone send me a couple of sexy photos when I was abroad and she was home. Frankly it mostly made me feel a bit weird, like I was missing out on something. Objectively they were attractive shots, but the camera loses more than it adds. Look at how every single “influencer” is just an empty frame animated by rage and make-up.

I couldn’t send sexy photos back to her because I don’t really find any bits of me sexy and there’s no way on God’s green earth anyone is getting a photo of THAT part of my anatomy no no no. No substitute for the real thing. But we have to try…

Once again I’m in a zoom room with creatives trying to work out how we can bring life to a Shakespeare script and send it out into the world in a shape we can be proud of. This time it’s the wonderful Factory family and we are looking at Loves Labours Lost. It’s not one I’m certain about so I’m looking forward to finding a way through it with them. Normally we would do it from cue scripts in a beautiful theatre made out of a living willow in Wales. Last time I went there I broke my rib falling out of a tree so it’s probably best for everybody involved that this time I’m doing it from the safety of my own living room, playing with all my new bright green playthings. We might not have use for any of it – there’s precious little magic in LLL and The Factory is all about the text at heart.

But I’m sure we will find what magic or anarchy we can find… And it’s dear friends, making things. Again. Lucky me.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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